Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces today in Jerusalem’s Old City as soldiers were shot in the West Bank amid anger at eight days of relentless bombardments on Gaza.
Tear gas was fired at demonstrators at Damascus Gate, around half a mile from Temple Mount where clashes last Monday at Al-Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third holiest site – provoked a barrage of missiles from Hamas in Gaza.
A water cannon and mounted police were deployed as Palestinians were sent running from the flash of stun grenades close to the Old City.
Meanwhile two Israeli Defence Forces soldiers were shot and wounded around ten miles north near the West Bank settlement of Beit El as hundreds of Palestinians rioted at the entrance to the nearby city of Ramallah.
One of the soldiers was said to be moderately injured, while the other was only mildly hurt, according to local reports. They were shot in their legs.
The army were also deployed to the West Bank city of Hebron as rioters lit burning barricades in the street and used slingshots to fire projectiles at officers.
The unrest came as Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Israel’s 21 percent Arab minority staged a general strike in solidarity with Gaza where the death toll on Tuesday rose to 212 – including 61 children.
Ten Israeli civilians, including a child, have been killed in rocket fire from the Strip.
Benjamin Netanyahu earlier defied Joe Biden’s calls for ceasefire as he vowed to ‘continue striking the terrorists’ following air strikes last night on 65 Hamas targets inside Gaza.
Footage emerged of a precision strike on a Hamas ‘suicide submarine’ in northern Gaza on Monday, showing the explosive-laden vessel being obliterated shortly after it was launched into the Mediterranean by militants.
Pro-Palestinian protesters flee from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli security forces inside Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday
Israeli forces intervene Palestinians who gather in front of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, in East Jerusalem on Tuesday
Protesters run for cover as tear gas is fired close to Damascus Gate near Jerusalem’s Old City
Pro-Palestinian protesters square up to police at Damascus Gate about a half mile away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday
An Israeli security force grapples with a protester during a demonstration held by Palestinians to show their solidarity amid Israel-Gaza fighting, at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s Old City
People react to a stun grenade fired by Israeli police officers during a demonstration held by Palestinians to show their solidarity amid Israel-Gaza fighting, at Jerusalem’s Old City, May 18
Protesters close to the Damascus Gate flee from tear gas as security forces move in on Tuesday
A Palestinian man is arrested by the Israeli security forces on Tuesday
Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli security forces on horseback during protests against Israel’s occupation and its air campaign on the Gaza strip, at Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem on Tuesday
Israeli troops take up positions against Palestinian protesters in the West Bank city of Hebron
A Palestinian protester waves a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops at the city center of the West Bank city of Hebron
Palestinian protesters take cover during clashes with Israeli troops at the city center of the West Bank city of Hebron
A Palestinian protester uses his slingshot to throw stones during clashes with Israeli troops at the city center of the West Bank city of Hebron
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops at the city center of the West Bank city of Hebron
Palestinian protesters take cover during clashes with Israeli troops at the city center of the West Bank city of Hebron
Air strike sinks Hamas ‘suicide submarine’
The Israeli Air Force has destroyed a ‘suicide submarine’ which was being launched into the Mediterranean in northern Gaza.
The autonomous submersible was still close to the shore when the missile rained down and sank it on Monday.
Moments later a second ‘ninja’ missile was dropped on the car of militants who were seen driving away after launching the vessel.
The submarines, capable of carrying up to 70 pounds of explosives and guided by GPS technology, are suspected of attempted attacks on Israeli oil rigs and naval assets.
Video footage released by the IDF showed both the strike on the submarine in the water and the assassination of the militants in their car shortly afterwards.
The IDF did not specify what the drone submarine was targeting but simply said it was aimed towards the State of Israel’s maritime territory.’
Israel’s naval vessels have been targeted by Hamas rocket fire in the past, as well as the Tamar oil rig which was drained of fuel last week as a precaution.
Tamar is just 14 miles off the coast of the southern city of Ashkelon which has been pummelled by Hamas rocket fire.
The Israeli Navy says it has been successful in thwarting any attempts by Hamas to attack them in the water.
‘The most significant thing, as in all of the IDF, is denying [the enemy] capabilities and establishing a strong defence. Therefore, we have attacked bases, vessels, weapons warehouses, infrastructure and operatives. We have acted so that the naval arms of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas would be depressed,’ the head of the Israeli Navy Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit told reporters on Sunday.
Another piece of aerial footage then shows a car being tracked by overhead cross hairs before it is rocked by a blast which brings it to a swift and fiery halt. The IDF said the militants inside had launched the autonomous submarine.
Photographs of the car later showed its roof ripped open in a pattern which suggests a six-bladed ‘ninja’ missile was fired. The missiles are designed to cut through cars, killing targets with minimal collateral damage.
The Israeli Defence Forces did not specify what Hamas were planning to target with their explosive-laden submarine but they have previously fired rockets at naval vessels and oil rigs in the Mediterranean.
The vessels can be armed with up to 70 pounds of explosives and GPS tracking is used to direct them towards targets.
‘The submarine that was attacked was launched from the shore in Gaza,’ the military said. ‘It went a few meters deep and was directed at a target, which could have been an Israeli beach or Israel Navy boats.’
The IDF last night said it blasted through more of ‘The Metro’, the militants’ underground network of tunnels and bunkers which are used as hideouts and for shipping weapons underneath the densely populated city.
Meanwhile Hamas fired 70 rockets – most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system.
At least two Israelis were killed and several more were seriously injured on Tuesday after a rocket from Gaza struck a factory in southern Israel – following several hours of relative calm this morning.
The two dead are both foreign men in their 30s who worked at the factory that was hit, Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said, while seven others were hurt – some of them seriously.
The factory was hit during a late-afternoon rocket salvo fired from Gaza that came after a six-hour lull in the bombardment. Another building in Ashdod was hit, though it was not immediately clear if anyone was hurt.
Israel responded by launching airstrikes on rocket launchers in northern Gaza which it said had been used in the attack. It is unclear if anyone was killed in those attacks.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz today repeated his vow to ‘bring about complete and long-term calm’ in Gaza, saying the IDF has ‘thousands’ more targets to strike and ‘no person, area or neighborhood in Gaza is immune.’
It comes after Benjamin Netanyahu last-night defied Joe Biden’s calls for a ceasefire, saying that Israel will ‘continue striking at the terrorist targets’.
But despite their breakthroughs against Hamas, Israel faces a growing crisis on three fronts, with an internal battle to quell unrest among Palestinians in the West Bank, and to prevent rocket attacks by terrorists in neighbouring Lebanon.
Rocket fire from the northern border has increased in recent days amid resentment for the air strikes on Hamas.
Terror groups in Lebanon such as Hezbollah back Hamas’ efforts against Israel.
A Palestinian demonstrator appears to be unconscious as Israeli police officers carry him away from the demonstration at Damascus Gate today
Israeli security force members detain a Palestinian woman during a demonstration held by Palestinians to show their solidarity amid Israel-Gaza fighting, at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s Old City
Israeli security forces fire teargas against Palestinian demonstrators during protests against Israel’s occupation and its air campaign on the Gaza strip, at Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem
Armed Israeli police during clashes with Palestinians at Damascus gate of the old city of Jerusalem
Israeli police intervene in Palestinian demonstrators using a water cannon to disperse the crowd
An injured Palestinian boy covers his head during clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at Damascus gate of the Old City
Palestinian protesters at Damascus gate of the old city of Jerusalem during a protest following the general strike in east Jerusalem
Israeli security force members detain a Palestinian protester during a demonstration held by Palestinians to show their solidarity amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Jerusalem’s Old City
Israeli police spray Palestinian demonstrators with a water cannon in the Muslim Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood
A man is detained during pro-Gaza demonstrations at the Damascus Gate on Tuesday
Six rockets were fired from Lebanon late last night but fell short of the border fence, according to the IDF. The military said they responded with an artillery barrage.
The rockets triggered warning sirens and residents near the northern border were warned to stay inside bomb shelters. No injuries were reported.
Airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza today toppled a six-story building that housed libraries and educational centres belonging to the Islamic University, leaving behind a massive mound of concrete slabs. Desks, office chairs, books and computer wires could be seen in the debris. Residents sifted through the rubble, searching for their belongings.
Israel warned the building’s residents ahead of time, sending them fleeing into the predawn darkness, and there were no reports of casualties. Israel typically says such buildings also house militant infrastructure.
‘The whole street started running, then destruction, an earthquake,’ said Jamal Herzallah, a resident of the area. ‘This whole area was shaking.’
Late Monday, strikes had knocked out Gaza’s only Covid-19 testing laboratory and damaged the office of the Qatari Red Crescent.
The rate of positive coronavirus tests in Gaza has been among the highest in the world, at 28 percent.
Hospitals in the poverty-stricken territory, which has been under Israeli blockade for almost 15 years, have been overwhelmed by patients.
Video taken from the air by Israeli aircraft shows two missiles smashing into the vessel in quick succession as a huge explosion erupts in shallow waters close to a tower block in northern Gaza
Footage shows smoke billowing beside the Mediterranean after the missile strike
Another piece of aerial footage then shows a car being tracked by overhead cross hairs before it is rocked by a blast which brings it to a swift and fiery halt. The IDF said the militants inside had launched the autonomous submarine
Photographs of the car later showed its roof ripped open in a pattern which suggests a six-bladed ‘ninja’ missile was fired. The missiles are designed to cut through cars, killing targets with minimal collateral damage
Palestinian firefighters douse a huge fire at the Foamco mattress factory following an Israeli airstrike, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip
Explosions light-up the night sky above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave in the early hours of Tuesday
A Palestinian woman stands next to an unexploded bomb dropped by an Israeli F-16 warplane on Gaza City’s Rimal neighbourhood
Palestinians sit among the rubble of their home that was destroyed during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on Tuesday
Palestinian firefighters inspect the remains of a destroyed residential building targeted by Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday
Palestinians carry the body of Obaida Jawabreh, killed a day earlier during clashes with Israeli soldiers, at his funeral in al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron city in the the occupied West Wank
Smoke and flames are seen following an Israeli air strike on a building, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza City on Tuesday
Rockets are launched towards Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on Monday evening. The IDF said that 70 were fired last night
Gaza resident Roba Abu al-Awf, 20, said she expected a rough night.
‘We have nothing to do but sit at home,’ she said. ‘Death could come at any moment – the bombing is crazy and indiscriminate.’
Israeli fire on Gaza has cratered roads and battered crucial infrastructure, causing blackouts and prompting the electricity authority to warn yesterday it only had enough fuel left to provide power for another two to three days.
The conflict risks precipitating a humanitarian disaster, with the UN saying nearly 40,000 Palestinians have been displaced and 2,500 have lost their homes.
Palestinian militants have fired around 3,350 rockets toward Israel in the heaviest exchange of fire in years.
Hamas has threatened more rocket strikes on Tel Aviv if bombing of residential areas does not stop.
The fighting is the most intense since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, but efforts to halt it have so far stalled.
A Palestinian man inspects the damage of a house destroyed by an early morning Israeli airstrike on Tuesday
A Palestinian man inspects the damage of a six-story building which was destroyed by an early morning Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City
A block of flats destroyed during an Israeli air strike in the early hours of Tuesday
Palestinian demonstrators burn tires during a protest against the tension in Jerusalem and the Israeli-Gaza fighting, on May 17, 2021 in the occupied West Bank, near the settlement of Beit El next to Ramallah
Egyptian mediators are trying to negotiate a cease-fire, but the U.S. has stopped short of demanding an immediate stop to the hostilities and Israel has so far vowed to press on.
With no end in sight to the fighting, Palestinians in Israel, east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank observed a general strike on Tuesday.
It was a rare show of unity among Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20 per cent its population, and those in the territories Israel seized in 1967 that the Palestinians have long sought for a future state of their own. Life had already ground to a halt in Gaza when the fighting began.
The strike was intended to protest the Gaza war and Israeli policies that many activists and some rights groups say constitute an overarching system of apartheid that denies Palestinians the rights afforded to Jews.
Israel rejects that characterisation, saying its citizens have equal rights. It blames the war on Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, and accuses it of inciting violence across the region.
Leaders of the Palestinian community in Israel called the strike, which was embraced by the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, where ministries and schools were closed. Most businesses appeared to be observing the strike, and protests were expected.
Muhammad Barakeh, one of the organisers of the strike, said Palestinians are expressing a ‘collective position’ against Israel’s ‘aggression’ in Gaza and Jerusalem, as well as the ‘brutal repression’ by police across Israel.
People look at an unexploded missile thrown by Israel in al-Rimal neighborhood as Israeli warplanes continue to carry out airstrikes
Palestinian workers clean up the rubble and attempt to repair infrastructures damaged in Israeli air raids in Gaza City on Tuesday
Smoke and flames are seen following an Israeli air strike on a building, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza City May 18
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on a building, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza City on Tuesday
Thick black smoke rises from an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday
The war has also seen an unusual outbreak of violence in Israel, with groups of Jewish and Palestinian citizens fighting in the streets and torching vehicles and buildings. In both Israel and the West Bank, Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli forces.
The Israeli military said Tuesday it fired at 65 militant targets, including rocket launchers, a group of fighters and the homes of Hamas commanders that the army said were being used for military purposes. It said more than 60 fighter jets took part in the operation.
The military said it also shot down a drone ‘approaching the Israeli border’ in the northeast, far from the Gaza fighting. It did not say where the unmanned aircraft originated, but it’s possible the drone came from Syria.
The military said Palestinian militants fired 90 rockets, 20 of which fell short into Gaza. Israel says its missile defences have intercepted about 90 per cent the rockets.
Israel’s strikes have brought down several buildings and caused widespread damage in the narrow coastal territory, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
The attacks have damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and entirely destroyed one health facility, the World Health Organisation said in a new report. Nearly half of all essential drugs in the territory have run out.
It said the bombing of key roads, including those leading to the main Shifa Hospital, has hindered the movement of ambulances and supply vehicles.
Over 41,000 displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in U.N. schools in Gaza, which was already struggling to cope with a coronavirus outbreak. Gaza is also running low on fuel for its electricity supply and water.
Israel has vowed to press on with its operations, and the United States signalled it would not pressure the two sides for a cease-fire even as President Joe Biden said he supported one.
‘We will continue to operate as long as necessary in order to return calm and security to all Israeli citizens,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after meeting with top security officials on Monday .
The Hezbollah and Palestinian flags are flown at the Israeli border as an Israel flag is burned during a protest in Maroun Al-Ras village, near the border with Israel, in southern Lebanon
Palestinian firefighters attempt to put out a blaze at a sponge factory in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday
Flames rip through a warehouse belonging to a sponge factory in the northern Gaza Strip early on Monday
Israel has defied international calls for a ceasefire and continues to bombard targets within Gaza today
Palestinians inspect damaged building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City
The Biden administration has declined so far to publicly criticise Israel’s part in the fighting or send a top-level envoy to the region.
On Monday, the United States again blocked a proposed U.N. Security Council statement calling for an end to ‘the crisis related to Gaza’ and the protection of civilians, especially children.
Since the fighting began, the Israeli military has launched hundreds of airstrikes it says are targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,400 rockets into Israel.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad say at least 20 of their fighters have been killed, while Israel says the number is at least 160 and has released the names of and photos of more than two dozen militant commanders it says were ‘eliminated.’
Israel’s airstrikes have levelled a number of Gaza City’s tallest buildings, which Israel alleges contained Hamas military infrastructure. Among them was the building housing The Associated Press Gaza office and those of other media outlets.
Netanyahu alleged that Hamas military intelligence was operating inside the building and said any evidence would be shared through intelligence channels. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hasn’t yet seen any evidence supporting that.
AP President Gary Pruitt reiterated the organisation’s call for an independent investigation into the attack.
‘As we have said, we have no indication of a Hamas presence in the building, nor were we warned of any such possible presence before the airstrike,’ he said in a statement. ‘We do not know what the Israeli evidence shows, and we want to know.’
Does Israel have its own ‘ninja missiles’? Precision strike that killed Hamas ‘terrorist’ but left his car largely intact sparks speculation that IDF has weapon similar to six-bladed US rocket
By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline
A bombed-out car in the Gaza Strip has sparked speculation that Israel has developed its own version of America’s six-bladed ‘ninja missiles’.
The car – a while Citroen Xsara – was blown up in a strike by the Israeli air force on Tuesday to the west of Gaza City in an attack the IDF said targeted operatives of a Hamas ‘suicide submarine’.
Video of the strike, released by the IDF, shows the driver’s side of the car being struck by a missile which blows out the windows and doors but otherwise leaves the vehicle intact as it rolls to a stop on a nearby roundabout.
The pattern of damage is similar, though not identical to, damage caused by R9X ‘ninja missiles’ – dud Hellfire rockets that use a combination of sheer force and six long blades to shred targets and have been used by the US in Lybia, Syria and Iraq.
That has raised questions over whether the Israeli military, with its strong ties to the US, has been able to develop its own version of the missile.
A precision strike on what the IDF described as a Hamas terrorist involved in a ‘suicide submarine’ attack killed the man, but left his car largely intact
The pattern of damage, similar to that seen in CIA and Pentagon strikes using ‘ninja missiles’, has sparked speculation that the IDF has developed a similar weapon
The strike blew out the car’s windows, doors and roof, but without destroying the vehicle and left two cars parked nearby with only moderate damage
‘Ninja missile’ strikes – often against vehicles – are distinctive because the car typically remains intact with only a small hole or holes caused by the missile.
The hole itself is often star shaped because the uses six blades that extend from the sides of the rocket to slice through its target – hence its nickname.
Because the missile’s warhead is inert – meaning non-explosive – targeted vehicles usually do not show signs of blast damage, such as blown-out windows or doors.
That is not the case with the strike in Gaza, since the car’s roof, front doors and boot have clearly been bent outwards by a small explosion.
Two parked vehicles that were close to the strike also had their windows either fully or partially blown out with the force, with shrapnel damage visible across their bodywork and tyres blown out.
IDF footage also shows a small explosion partially destroying the vehicle.
But the damage is far less extensive than would be expected from a strike using a conventional missile, which has caused speculation online.
IDF footage of the strike shows the car drive off down the street before the missile strikes, after which it rolls to a stop at a roundabout
Footage captured by Palestinian media showed people rushing to help the car’s occupant after the blast, though it is thought the sole occupant was killed
‘Reminds me of the R9X strikes in Syria but as far as I know, Israel do not possess them.’
Coupsure, another open-source intelligence Twitter feed in French, added to the speculation, writing: ‘It is interesting to note that there is very little damage in the surroundings.
‘I think they used a missile similar to the R9X or a missile with a very small explosive charge.’
MailOnline has reached out to the Israeli defence ministry but had not received a response prior to publication.
The R9X, a modified version of the better-known Hellfire missile, was developed during Obama’s presidency amid concerns over the number of civilians being killed in drone strike campaigns in the Middle East.
The R9X is a modified version of the precision Hellfire missile which carries a non-explosive warhead filled with 45kg of metal and six ejecting blades designed to shred its target
Strikes using ninja missiles are distinctive because they leave vehicles intact with star-shaped damage marks caused by the blades (pictured, a ‘ninja missile’ attack in Syria in 2020)
The first known attack using a R9X missile was to kill deputy leader of Al-Qaeda Abu Khayr al-Masri in February 2017 (above)
It was also developed in response to tactics by terrorists who took to hiding among women and children in the hopes they would not be targeted.
The weapon consists of a typical Hellfire missile with its laser targeting system, but with the explosive warhead replaced by 45kg of metal designed to crush the target.
Six blades are also hidden in the missile’s fuselage which extend moments before it strikes the target, allowing it to shred through vehicles.
Under development since 2011, the first known use of the missile was in 2017 to kill the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, Abu Khayr al-Masri in Syria.
It was used in a number of other strikes that year across Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia, and again in 2019 in Afghanistan.
The aim of the weapon – also known as the ‘Flying Ginsu’ after a famous brand of knives – is to be able to kill a terrorist target in a car without harming the driver, or to kill someone at the dinner table without harming others sitting with them.
Obama had reportedly considered using an R9X to kill Osama Bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011 – though he eventually decided to send in a Navy SEAL team instead.